|System: DS, X360, PSP, PS2, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Radical Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision / Blizzard||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 07, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
The years when gamers chose their preferred console based on its mascot have long since passed. However, even two generations ago mascots still played a fairly large role with companies attempting to brand each console with a likeable and recognizable face for gamers to associate with them.
With the PS1, or the Playstation as it was called prior to its successors arrival, Crash Bandicoot was clearly championed as Sonys mascot for their first console. Fast-forward several years, and mascots just dont matter like they once did. While Mario still manages to remain synonymous with Nintendo and its hardware, Sonic and Crash have found themselves traveling to any and all consoles that will have them. It has become a fairly sad state of affairs for longtime fans, especially as both of these former mascots struggle to recapture some sort of identity and purpose.
In Crashs case specifically, this falling out with fans has resulted from losing his exclusive Sony mascot status as much as the gradually degrading quality of his outings. I myself was a fairly big Crash fan through his second game and have spared myself the pain of playing through most of his more recent adventures. Luckily, with last years Crash of the Titans game, everyones favorite bandicoot seemed to be moving back in the right direction, at least as far as quality is concerned. However, this trend may only be applicable to his console titles.
Crash: Mind Over Mutant for the DS has some good things going for it but mostly comes off as a fairly generic platforming game with some very prevalent issues that keep it from being a completely enjoyable experience. One of the biggest problems with the game is it just doesnt really feel like a Crash game. Besides the games opening scene, which is full of noticeably repetitive animations and sound effects, there is absolutely no storyline or personality to speak of. Cortex has created some sort of all-in-one tech-helmet that also controls the mind of its wearer. This somehow results in Crash needing to run, jump, and fight his way through many 2D levels with no further story or explanation to put an end to Cortexs evil scheme of turning everyone into his brainwashed servants.
Once you get into the game itself, you quickly realize that, besides navigating a few difficult jumps, playing as Crash is almost completely pointless. As countless reused enemies constantly get in your way, taking them out with your limited light and heavy attacks just doesnt cut it. Instead, players will have to rely on five different controllable mutants, one found in each world, to get the job done. To acquire a mutant, players must best them in combat and then press the A button to ride them. Once ridden, the mutant is yours to use as you see fit, whether it be for much stronger attacks, solving puzzles, or defeating bosses that require their use, having a much larger life bar, or just pocketing it with a press of the touch screen for later use. Since there are a ton of benefits for using these mutants and virtually no reason to just use Crash by himself, the game becomes more about slogging through levels on the back of these beasts and punching everything that moves instead of actually enjoying the platforming action typically associated with the games main character.